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New Head of Knight News Innovation Lab

Northwestern lab transforms news through development of innovative technologies

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June 28, 2012 | by Wendy Leopold
Miranda Mulligan

Miranda Mulligan

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Miranda Mulligan, a seasoned innovator in journalism, education and news web design, has been named executive director of Northwestern University’s Knight News Innovation Laboratory. The lab, which brings together journalists and computer scientists, aims to develop innovative technologies to be used by journalists, publishers and citizens locally, in the U.S. and abroad.

"This is an incredible team to be joining, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to further my exploration of innovative storytelling and publishing techniques," said Mulligan, who is currently the design director for digital at The Boston Globe.

Supported by a $4.2 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Knight Lab is a joint initiative of the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications and the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Mulligan will serve as the lab's executive director effective July 23. As design director for digital at The Boston Globe / boston.com she has focused on the intersection of journalism and technology. She is a designer and educator with more than 10 years of experience in print and web design, photography and information graphics reporting.

In 2011, Mulligan led the responsive web design approach to the new BostonGlobe.com, which was named World’s Best Designed Website for 2011 by the Society of News Design.

“Miranda Mulligan has a wonderful background to lead the Knight Lab,” said Medill Dean John Lavine. “Her experience leading the Globe’s responsive-design project demonstrated her extraordinary skill managing projects that involve journalists and technologists, while also accomplishing real business goals.”

McCormick School Dean Julio M. Ottino said: "The Knight Lab serves as a catalyst for work at the intersection of computer science and journalism. This intersection is a unique strength at Northwestern, and Miranda Mulligan’s appointment will ensure that the lab continues to develop new, innovative media tools that incorporate new technologies to meet the needs of both media companies and their audiences." 

Since its launch last year, the lab has produced a diverse mix of technology innovations relevant to media and journalism.  For example:

  • CongressionalPrimaries.org – a website providing coverage of 25 contested elections for Congress in Illinois, featuring aggregated news from multiple sources, an analysis of the candidates’ Twitter activity, and data about campaign contributions.
  • TimelineJS – a free, open-source tool for journalists and publishers that makes it easy to create attractive displays of stories that take place over time.
  • NATOinChicago.com – a news resource about the NATO summit in Chicago in May, providing news from top sources around the world and content from tweets about the summit and the protests that took place during the event.
  • Babl – a mobile application that is currently under development that provides a novel interface for sharing and tracking tweets on particular topics.

Visit http://knightlab.northwestern.edu/site/projects/ for a list of projects developed by the Knight News Innovation Lab.

Topics: University